Author Topic: What if China and Russia initiated the Space Age in the early 1900s?  (Read 3251 times)

Offline Vahe231991

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if Russia and China had launched rockets into space in the first half of the 20th century? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2022 11:37 pm by Vahe231991 »

Offline Stan-1967

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...then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.

That's kinda how it played out anyway.

Offline AstroWolfie

oooh. very interesting!
AstroWolfie

Offline Jim

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if the English settlers had never colonized eastern North America? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.

Then other influences would be in play and Tsiolkovsky may not have done anything either.

You can't change one factor and expect the others to remain the same.

Offline DanClemmensen

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if the English settlers had never colonized eastern North America? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.
Sorry, but when you construct an alternate history you need a lot more than this. Why did the English not colonize NA? What happened instead? Spanish got there first? English impeded by Civil war? Strong NA native civilization due to better disease resistance? European societal collapse? Chinese got to NA first? English concentrated on Africa instead? After you specify the time and reason for the alternate universe fork, you will then need to specify your model for alternative universes. How strong is the butterfly effect? Do alternate universes somehow tend to reconverge?  Depending on all this, you can end up with anything, from no industrial revolution at all, to a first space launch in 1850.

Offline high road

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if the English settlers had never colonized eastern North America? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.

So assuming the US never became a strong enough powerhouse but enough of an economic boon to make Europe flourish as it did in our history? Then assuming WWI would eventually have played out similar as in our timeline because supplies would still be enough for the war of attrition to play out as it did (maybe some time later), then the interbellum would have been similar because people are people, and wealthy people would still have been tinkering with airplanes and rocket technology in the 20's and 30's.

So the difference would be that Hitler would have won the war without the massive supply line to the UK and Russia in the early years of the war, or at least managed to achieve a stalemate with control of oil fields so he could continue to build up his power. Assuming he would stop wanting to conquer ever more, the next big Nazi thing is doing big projects. So he would definitely have jumped on the occasion to put men in space. We may even have seen a space race between Germany and other countries. Not Russia though, or at least not by themselves, as most of the industrial base would have been conquered by Germany.

As for China, that's harder. Does the US still break open the Japanese isolation in this timeline? In that case, without a strong US putting economic sanctions on Japan for their expansion in the 30's (made possible because the US dragged them into the 20th century kicking and screaming a few decades before), and no threat of a strong US navy opposing them in the 40's, China would have been conquered. Or enough of it for the rest to no longer be relevant.

If the US doesn't kick Japan into high gear in this timeline, that's an entirely different story. But then again, tensions between Germany and its neighbours would have been much higher, and their regime prone to the same issues as we saw with the USSR, so we'd probably see more total war and economic decline in this timeline than in ours to prevent much of the space race from materializing.

Offline Robotbeat

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Yeah, I remember Galileo and Kepler seemed inspired by the New World explorations. Even Copernicus seemed to have been inspired by the maps of the New World to develop his heliocentric model: https://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/10/11/a_world_redrawn_when_america_showed_up_on_a_map_it_was_the_universe_that_got_transformed/

So it’s possible there just wouldn’t have been much understanding of space, the Scientific Revolution itself may have been stillborne. The discovery and exploitation of the New World seemed to have spurred cultural, economic, and scientific development (just think of the massive benefit of the potato alone!). It’s really hard to say.

And as others have mentioned, if for whatever reason the New World indigenous people and civilizations had been resistant to disease and European conquest, they may have quickly developed their own cultural/economic/scientific Revolutions and been the ones doing the exploration. (It doesn’t necessarily take very long to incorporate new innovations… Plains Indians quickly mastered firearms and horseback riding, and one tribe actually developed their own unique written language after being introduced to the idea from contact with settlers and soon were more literate than the surrounding settlers… if entire civilizations had been able to avoid massive destruction by European germs and militaries, they may have quickly incorporated Old World technology, domesticated animals, crops, and cultural innovations and become powerful states… And then perhaps this would’ve spurred the Old World in turn, and perhaps it would’ve been China vs Germany vs descendants  of the Aztecs and Mississippian culture instead of US vs Russia.)

But if no contact had developed, I suspect we would be at early modern development right now, without any spaceflight yet and maybe a very stunted & slow scientific Revolution.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2022 07:25 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Vahe231991

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if the English settlers had never colonized eastern North America? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.
Sorry, but when you construct an alternate history you need a lot more than this. Why did the English not colonize NA? What happened instead? Spanish got there first? English impeded by Civil war? Strong NA native civilization due to better disease resistance? European societal collapse? Chinese got to NA first? English concentrated on Africa instead? After you specify the time and reason for the alternate universe fork, you will then need to specify your model for alternative universes. How strong is the butterfly effect? Do alternate universes somehow tend to reconverge?  Depending on all this, you can end up with anything, from no industrial revolution at all, to a first space launch in 1850.
The point of this thread was to ask if China or Russia would have had the financial resources to build their own space rockets in the few decades of the 20th century if they had joined the Imdustrial Revolution, because Tsiolkovsky was the first man to argue that multi-stage rockets were necessary to take people to outer space, and Russia could have capitalized on Tsiolkovsky's work by mustering sufficient resources at its discretion to not just join the Industrial Revolution but also create a space program, after which it could sell rocket technology to China and the US.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2022 11:40 pm by Vahe231991 »

Offline Jim

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The point of this thread was to ask if the UK, China, or Russia would have had the financial resources

No, because without the USA:
a.  UK would not have a trading partner and resource resupplier.
b.  China would not have a market for manufactured goods or rival,  And Japan would have taken over a good chunk of its territory.
c.  Russia would not have a rival plus the Germans would not have to fight on two fronts and Europe would be under Nazi control.  Or actually, Prussian control and communism would never have started.

Without the USA, it doesn't change the conditions to where either of the 3 become more advanced. Nor does it just change the late 20th century. Wars in the 1800's and early 1900's would have been much different.

As I said, you can't change one factor and expect the others to remain the same.

These sort questions are just silly.  If you are going to play the game, you only can look at the timeframe around the proposed change and not 200 years later.

But no matter what, there isn't a timeline where China or UK takes the lead without the US existing.

Russia was already the first to orbit.  But it would not have happened with the US existing and taking down the Germans.  Russia would have been more backwards if the Monarchy continued.




« Last Edit: 02/03/2022 09:30 pm by Jim »

Offline DanClemmensen

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if the English settlers had never colonized eastern North America? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.
Sorry, but when you construct an alternate history you need a lot more than this. Why did the English not colonize NA? What happened instead? Spanish got there first? English impeded by Civil war? Strong NA native civilization due to better disease resistance? European societal collapse? Chinese got to NA first? English concentrated on Africa instead? After you specify the time and reason for the alternate universe fork, you will then need to specify your model for alternative universes. How strong is the butterfly effect? Do alternate universes somehow tend to reconverge?  Depending on all this, you can end up with anything, from no industrial revolution at all, to a first space launch in 1850.
The point of this thread was to ask if the UK, China, or Russia would have had the financial resources to build their own space rockets in the few decades of the 20th century even if there was no United States, because Tsiolkovsky was the first man to argue that multi-stage rockets were necessary to take people to outer space, and Russia could have capitalized on Tsiolkovsky's work by mustering sufficient resources at its discretion to not just join the Industrial Revolution but also create a space program, after which it could sell rocket technology to China and the UK.
This is senseless. If you cannot specify the fork point of the alternate universe, we have no way at all to guess about what happened in the 300+ years between the English settlements (1609) and the first aircraft (1903). This is my last post on this thread.

Offline Vahe231991

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if Russia and China had launched rockets into space in the first half of the 20th century? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.
Sorry, but when you construct an alternate history you need a lot more than this. Why did the English not colonize NA? What happened instead? Spanish got there first? English impeded by Civil war? Strong NA native civilization due to better disease resistance? European societal collapse? Chinese got to NA first? English concentrated on Africa instead? After you specify the time and reason for the alternate universe fork, you will then need to specify your model for alternative universes. How strong is the butterfly effect? Do alternate universes somehow tend to reconverge?  Depending on all this, you can end up with anything, from no industrial revolution at all, to a first space launch in 1850.
The point of this thread was to ask if the UK, China, or Russia would have had the financial resources to build their own space rockets in the few decades of the 20th century even if there was no United States, because Tsiolkovsky was the first man to argue that multi-stage rockets were necessary to take people to outer space, and Russia could have capitalized on Tsiolkovsky's work by mustering sufficient resources at its discretion to not just join the Industrial Revolution but also create a space program, after which it could sell rocket technology to China and the UK.
This is senseless. If you cannot specify the fork point of the alternate universe, we have no way at all to guess about what happened in the 300+ years between the English settlements (1609) and the first aircraft (1903). This is my last post on this thread.
I've changed the thread title, but I should emphasize that Tsiolkovsky's paper arguing that multistage rockets were essential to take people to outer space was published the same year that the first airplane flew.

Offline Stan-1967

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I've changed the thread title, but I should emphasize that Tsiolkovsky's paper arguing that multistage rockets were essential to take people to outer space was published the same year that the first airplane flew.
...then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.

That's kinda how it played out anyway.

Re: What if China and Russia initiated the Space Age in the early 1900s?
 
You need to invent another timeline where China is not a basket case in the 1900's

Offline Steve G

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In the realm of pointless what-iffs, imagine had Vostok 1 flown two years earlier, in 1959, just days before the Mercury 7 astronauts were to be introduced. Eisenhower is president for almost two years, and how would have America reacted then? How would have that affected the 1960 presidential election?

Offline rvbfan

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What if I had a chia pet?
« Last Edit: 02/04/2022 12:55 am by rvbfan »

Offline Jorge

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In the realm of pointless what-iffs, imagine had Vostok 1 flown two years earlier, in 1959, just days before the Mercury 7 astronauts were to be introduced. Eisenhower is president for almost two years, and how would have America reacted then? How would have that affected the 1960 presidential election?

Eisenhower was in his second term in 1959, not his second year. He wasn't eligible to run again in 1960.
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Offline Jorge

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if Russia and China had launched rockets into space in the first half of the 20th century? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.
Sorry, but when you construct an alternate history you need a lot more than this. Why did the English not colonize NA? What happened instead? Spanish got there first? English impeded by Civil war? Strong NA native civilization due to better disease resistance? European societal collapse? Chinese got to NA first? English concentrated on Africa instead? After you specify the time and reason for the alternate universe fork, you will then need to specify your model for alternative universes. How strong is the butterfly effect? Do alternate universes somehow tend to reconverge?  Depending on all this, you can end up with anything, from no industrial revolution at all, to a first space launch in 1850.
The point of this thread was to ask if the UK, China, or Russia would have had the financial resources to build their own space rockets in the few decades of the 20th century even if there was no United States, because Tsiolkovsky was the first man to argue that multi-stage rockets were necessary to take people to outer space, and Russia could have capitalized on Tsiolkovsky's work by mustering sufficient resources at its discretion to not just join the Industrial Revolution but also create a space program, after which it could sell rocket technology to China and the UK.
This is senseless. If you cannot specify the fork point of the alternate universe, we have no way at all to guess about what happened in the 300+ years between the English settlements (1609) and the first aircraft (1903). This is my last post on this thread.
I've changed the thread title, but I should emphasize that Tsiolkovsky's paper arguing that multistage rockets were essential to take people to outer space was published the same year that the first airplane flew.

So? The development of rockets capable of launching payloads into space was driven by the Cold War missile race. Absent that, there would have been no reason to develop them. Certainly couldn't have been developed much sooner than they actually were.
JRF

Offline Steve G

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In the realm of pointless what-iffs, imagine had Vostok 1 flown two years earlier, in 1959, just days before the Mercury 7 astronauts were to be introduced. Eisenhower is president for almost two years, and how would have America reacted then? How would have that affected the 1960 presidential election?

Eisenhower was in his second term in 1959, not his second year. He wasn't eligible to run again in 1960.

I meant he had two years left, or just over a year and a half.
« Last Edit: 02/04/2022 01:28 am by Steve G »

Offline Stan-1967

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In the realm of pointless what-iffs, imagine had Vostok 1 flown two years earlier, in 1959, just days before the Mercury 7 astronauts were to be introduced. Eisenhower is president for almost two years, and how would have America reacted then? How would have that affected the 1960 presidential election?

Eisenhower was in his second term in 1959, not his second year. He wasn't eligible to run again in 1960.

Clearly this timeline allows US Presidents to serve up to 3 consecutive terms. Americans in all 35 states would have rallied to support the Eisenhower over the pacifist Mormon Supreme Governor of Calidahutanevmexico.

Offline Steve G

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The point I was trying to make, is that Eisenhower would have had to react the same way Kennedy did in 1961. How he would react if Vostok 1 launched in 1959, and what goal, challenge, or objective he would have pursued in this scenario, is what I was getting at.

Offline dondar

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What would the space age, and more broadly space exploration have been like if Russia and China had launched rockets into space in the first half of the 20th century? I mean, the Chinese invented rockets and Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the first man to suggest that multi-stage rockets were essential to taking people to outer space, so it's possible that if China had not squandered a chance to industrialize in the early 20th century and Tsiolkovsky got the chance to build an experimental multi-stage rocket to test his theories, then either China or Russia would have been the first to launch spacecraft into orbit.
China didn't invent rockets. they invented fireworks.
Tsiolkovsky was one of many who wrote books on that topic. The key books were published in Germany (relevant books were by Oberth but ze germans had covered all topics humans in micro-gravity included).

Both countries didn't have engineering basis necessary for space flight.

 

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